Outliving Your Dissertation

A Guide for Students and Faculty

by Antonina Lukenchuk (Volume editor)
©2017 Textbook XXXII, 210 Pages
Series: Counterpoints, Volume 428


This guide focuses on the dissertation work as a step-by-step process and details the structure and the content of dissertation chapters. Unique to this edition is its conception of the dissertation in optimistic, realistic, and symbolic terms, which altogether provide theoretical basis and practical advice to students who are beginning their dissertation process. The guide features the personal accounts of doctoral students who have gone through the experience, which makes this edition stand out among other similar books on the market.
Dissertation is the work of a laborer, a craftsman, and an artist. Long hours of hard labor with our hands and head go into developing ideas, planning, and implementing research projects such as dissertations. But what ultimately drives our academic pursuits and, therefore makes them successful and enjoyable is inspiration that sets our hearts on fire and makes it impossible not to venture on the journey. The uncharted territories of the dissertation process – life events and happenings – make the path toward the highest academic degree attainment both exciting and challenging. Just like life itself with its unplanned and unpredictable twists and turns, the dissertation journey requires strength of character and an unwavering faith in one’s self and in the ultimate value of the pursuit of knowledge. So, why merely survive? Let’s enjoy the dissertation journey!
The guide is intended primarily for doctoral students pursuing dissertations in social sciences, as well as for faculty who teach doctoral-level research courses and seminars and supervise doctoral dissertations.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • The Editor
  • The Contributors
  • Introduction (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • The Conception of the Book and Its Metaphorical Threads
  • Organization of the Book
  • Part 1: Itinerary for Dissertation Beginners
  • Part 2: Insights from the Pathfinders
  • References
  • Part One: Itinerary for Dissertation Beginners
  • Chapter One: Dissertation Journey at a Glance: From Wonder to a Completed Project (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • Wonder: A Driving Force for Inquiry
  • Re-search Process
  • Dissertation Process: “The Hero’s Journey”?
  • Dissertation: Purpose and Structure
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Two: Assembling a Dissertation Committee (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • What Matters Most
  • Steps to Consider when Assembling Your Dissertation Committee
  • Start with Yourself
  • Study the Process at Your Institution
  • Get to Know the Faculty
  • Choose Your Chair First
  • Take Control of the Process
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Three: Dissertation Chapter 1: Mapping the Process (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • The Groundwork
  • Self-Examination
  • Reflection on Professional Practice
  • Identifying the Topic of Interest
  • Reviewing Relevant Literature
  • Refining Research Purposes and Questions
  • Mapping the Process: Content and Structure
  • Researcher’s Biographical Disclosure/Researcher’s Self
  • Example 3.1: Opening Passages of the Dissertation Chapter 1
  • Background of the Study
  • Problem Statement
  • Example 3.2: Research Problem Statement Sample
  • Research Purpose Statement
  • Research Questions and/or Hypotheses
  • Limitations/Delimitations
  • Inquiry Process: Theoretical Model
  • Example 3.3: Sample of Narrative Inquiry Process
  • Significance of the Study
  • Example 3.4: Significance Section Sample
  • Dissertation Structure
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Four: Review of Literature: Sketching Complex Dialogues and Dialectics with Extant Scholarly Works (Baudelaire K. Ulysse)
  • General Remarks
  • Literature as a Measure of Scholarship
  • Gathering Related and Disparate Sources
  • Spreading Wide the Net
  • Broad Search: Stage I
  • Broad Search: Stage II
  • Broad Search: Stage III
  • Casting Deep the Net
  • Deep Search Stage I: Selecting Relevant and Credible Sources
  • Deep Search Stage II: Evaluation of Relevant Literature
  • Deep Search: Stage III
  • Reading
  • Note-taking
  • Documenting
  • Organizing
  • Organizing the Literature Review
  • Key Components of All Styles: Overview
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Integration
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Five: Methodology: Choosing among Paradigms and Research Designs (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • The Essentials of Educational Research
  • Important Terminology
  • Methodology and Method
  • Philosophy of Science: An Overview
  • Paradigms of Research: Alternative Ways of Knowing
  • Research Methods and Designs
  • Traditional Methods
  • Traditional quantitative methods
  • Traditional qualitative inquiries
  • Nontraditional Methods
  • Composing a Methodology Chapter
  • Introduction
  • Example 5.1: Introduction to Chapter 3
  • Theoretical/Conceptual Framework/Conceptualization of the Study
  • Research Design
  • Validation Criteria
  • Researcher’s Self/Positionality
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Six: Compass for the Journey: Navigating the What, Why, and How of Ethics in Research (Baudelaire K. Ulysse)
  • The “What”
  • Ethics as Philosophical Values
  • Ethics in Research: Rules and Beyond
  • Example 6.1: Informed Consent Form
  • The “Why”
  • The “How”
  • Tip 1: Situate Self in Ethics
  • Tip 2: Ground Research Questions in Ethics
  • Tip 3: Integrate Ethics in Data Collection
  • Tip 4: Apply Ethics in the Writing Process
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Seven: Working with the Data and Presenting the Findings (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • Sources of Data and Data Collection Strategies
  • Quantitative Data
  • Qualitative Data
  • Example 7.1: Interview Guide Example
  • Data Analysis
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Presentation of Research Findings
  • Dissertation Is the Work of an Artist
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Chapter Eight: Writing Up the Dissertation: Dissertation Defence: Gaining the Ultimate Boon (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • The Concluding Dissertation Chapter
  • Writing up the Dissertation
  • Dissertation Defence
  • Preparing for the Event
  • The D-Day and Beyond
  • Life after Dissertation
  • Questions to Ponder
  • References
  • Part Two: Insights from the Pathfinders
  • Chapter Nine: Life beyond the Dissertation: Unexpected Turns and New Pursuits (M. Christine Sivik)
  • References
  • Chapter Ten: Little Girl Found: My Dissertation Journey (Sharon Sanders-Funnye)
  • Chapter Eleven: Dissertation Process: Transcending Life Challenges to Get to the Finish Line (Lourdes Blacksmith)
  • Rethinking the Journey: My Psychological Unrest
  • Life Happens: Happy Events
  • Life Happens: Unexpected Events
  • A Journey of Self-discovery
  • References
  • Chapter Twelve: Unveiling Your Path with Faith (Laura Yannuzzi)
  • Finding My Chair
  • Choosing My Topic
  • Throwing My Expectations Out the Window
  • Chapter Thirteen: Finding Your Researcher Voice (Regina Biddings-Muro)
  • In the Beginning: Finding My/Your Passion(s)
  • Passion Number 1: A Legacy of Faith and Success
  • Passion Number 2: Degenerating Political and Racial Coherence
  • Passion Number 3: A Testimony of God’s Promises: “He Has Brought Me too Far to Leave Me”
  • Final Thoughts
  • References
  • Chapter Fourteen: A Road of Peril and Promise (Jamilla Pitts)
  • Mile Marker 1: The First Letter and Interview
  • Choosing at the Crossroads
  • Rough Roads
  • Road Work Ahead
  • Lockdown Lane
  • Joy on the Journey
  • References
  • Chapter Fifteen: Rock Climbing in Pyjamas: How to Stay Motivated, Caffeinated, and Dedicated on the Dissertation Journey (David W. Carter)
  • The Right Fuel
  • A Personal Matter
  • The Intrinsic Climb
  • The Beauty of Inadequacy
  • The Secret
  • Killing Treadmills: How to Literally Climb
  • Finding Your “Cliff”
  • Becoming Insane … On Purpose
  • The Best Predictor of Success
  • Reaching the Summit
  • Hang On
  • A Final Word
  • Note
  • References
  • Epilogue (Antonina Lukenchuk)
  • References
  • Index
  • Series index

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List OF Figures

Figure 1.1: Re-search Cycle.

Figure 1.2: Dissertation Process: From Wonder to a Completed Project.

Figure 1.3: Traditional Five-Chapter Dissertation Structure.

Figure 3.1: The Groundwork in Preparation for Dissertation Writing.

Figure 3.2: A Combined Structure of Dissertation Chapter 1.

Figure 5.1: Method: The How of the Research.

Figure 5.2: Methodology: The What and the How of the Research.

Figure 7.1: Model of Sustainable Professional Employment for Clinical Exercise Physiologists (Reprinted from Schurman, 2013, p. 163).

Figure 7.2: Essential Structures of the Participants’ Experiences of Transitioning from Faculty to Leadership Positions (Reprinted from Yannuzzi, 2014, p. 132).

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List OF Tables

Table 1.1: Re-search Process: Linear Representation.

Table 1.2: Dissertation Process: “The Hero’s Journey”?

Table 5.1: Typology of Paradigms as Major Systems of Inquiry, Models, and Ways of Knowing, and Their Corresponding Philosophies, Ideologies, Traditions, Epistemologies, Methodologies, and Selected Methods.

Table 6.1: Standard Ethical Principles in Academic Research.

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I would like to express my warm gratitude to all contributors to this book – my colleagues and friends without whose assistance this manuscript would be an impossible endeavour.

To my former and current students – thank you for sustaining my sense of curiosity and inspiring me to pursue this project.

I wish to acknowledge the support from the staff at Peter Lang Publishing: former managing director Christopher S. Myers, current managing director Farideh Koohi-Kamali, series editor Shirley Steinberg, production manager Bernadette Shade, and all unnamed persons who have contributed to the production, marketing, and publication of this edition.

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The Editor

Antonina Lukenchuk is associate professor at National Louis University, Chicago, Illinois, where she teaches graduate courses in educational foundations and research. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English and general linguistics from Chernivtsi University, Ukraine. Her Ms.Ed. is in educational foundations from Northern Illinois University, and her Ed.D. is in adult education from Northern Illinois University.

Antonina’s research and scholarly interests are in philosophy of education, paradigms of research, qualitative research methods, service learning, and online and blended education. She has conducted workshops and seminars on the pedagogy of service learning, paradigms of research, and qualitative research in several Midwestern Universities and internationally.

Some of Antonina’s recent publications include Paradigms of Research for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Examples from Practice (Peter Lang, 2013), Themes at the Intersections of Theory and Practice in Online and Blended Education [2016, Distance Education, 37(1), 130–136, Critical discourse analysis of service-learning perspectives and models: Transforming teacher education. In V. Jagla, J. A. Erickson, & A. Tinkler (Eds.), Transforming teacher education through service-learning. New York, NY: IAP, 2013], and Itinerary of the Knower: Mapping the ways of Gnosis, Sophia, and imaginative education (in I. Semetsky, Jung and educational theory, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

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The Contributors

Regina Biddings-Muro serves as Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement at Purdue University Northwest. Regina earned a doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. Regina strives to inspire leadership among students from underrepresented and often-marginalized populations. Regina believes that the increasingly complex political, social, and economic challenges of our world will demand leaders who present undiscovered perspectives.

Lourdes (Lulu) Blacksmith holds a doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University, Lisle, IL. She is currently the Director of Government and Community Engagement at Waubonsee Community College. In 1999, Blacksmith founded Compañeros en Salud/Partners in Health, NFP and Language Access to Healthcare. Blacksmith’s research and scholarship interests are in developing a collaborative and integrated framework for workforce and economic development to help leverage educational and workforce resources and ultimately help low-income individuals overcome barriers to becoming and staying employed.

David W. Carter is an executive trainer, professional speaker, and best-selling author. An experienced educator for several institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations, Carter has also served in the U.S. Air Force as a combat engineer, as a Kansas police officer, and as an education technician for the National Park Service. He holds a doctorate in Higher Education and ← xvii | xviii → Organizational Change from Benedictine University and currently serves as Director of the Organizational Leadership and Transformational Change program at Friends University. His previous work has appeared on multiple news and media outlets and, most recently, C-SPAN’s Book TV, which highlighted his 2013 bestseller, Mayday over Wichita.

Jamilla Pitts, Ed.D., currently serves as a member of the Curriculum and Instruction Department in Evanston Skokie School District 65, supporting student and professional learning during the academic year and coordinating summer programming for district students. She has more than twenty years of experience as an educator, having served as a fine arts specialist, a classroom teacher, and a special services teacher. Her scholarly work includes investigating professional learning in a climate of accountability, planning, and facilitating capacity building learning experiences, serving as a peer reviewer of more than 100 conference proposals for AERA and NCSS, co-authorship of a peer-reviewed article and compiling scholarly resources to inform deliberations regarding class-, school-, and district-level matters. She is dedicated to equipping and empowering learners at all levels.

Sharon Sanders-Funnye, Ed.D., is an educator-leader, author, and dream-scaffolder. She currently serves as Director of TRiO Educational Talent Search Scholars Program at a large community college in Illinois. During her 25-year career in education, she has served as an adjunct professor for a four-year university, Site Coordinator for a 21st Century Community Learning Center, and Director of Operations for a non-profit youth development organization. Sharon presented her work at numerous conferences, including the American Educational Research Association Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the National Council for Opportunity in Education Conference, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, IL. She co-authored a scholarly article in a peer-reviewed Journal of Transformative Education. Sharon received the 2012 Distinguished Annual Program of the Year Award from the National Drop-out Prevention Network, and the 2013 Award of Excellence from the Zion-Benton School District Board of Directors, IL. Sharon’s overall goal is simple: she seeks to serve youth, through education, in an effort to positively transform their lives.

M. Christine Sivik holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, Elgin, IL. Throughout her career Christy has held leadership positions as Principal and Director of Curriculum for a pre-K–12 district. Christy is currently a Learning Behavior Specialist at Community Unit School District 201, Westmont, IL. As an Adjunct Professor at National ← xviii | xix → College of Education, National Louis University, Chicago, IL, Christy develops and inspires students to become successful educators. Her dissertation focused on the significance of arts education not only in cultivating academic proficiencies, but also in engaging students’ social and emotional aptitudes leading to a higher self-concept, increased confidence, and general fulfillment and joy. Christy values spending time with her family and enjoys participating in music ministry.

Baudelaire K. Ulysse holds a doctorate in curriculum and social inquiry and a master of business administration from National Louis University, Chicago, IL, and a master of religious philosophies from Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL. He currently teaches ethics at Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL. His research specialties include qualitative research methodologies, educational foundations and philosophies, curriculum history and theories, globalization, educational economics, neoliberalism, and philosophy and ethics.

Laura Yannuzzi holds a doctoral degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University, Lisle, IL. Laura currently serves as Division Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences at Guilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, NC. During her career, she has facilitated the development and implementation of two Centers for Teaching and Learning, an Honors Program, a Civic Engagement program, a Global Scholars of Distinction program, and Quality Enhancement Plans designed to increase student success. Laura seeks to generate opportunities for students and faculty alike, primarily those under-represented in Higher Education.


XXXII, 210
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (May)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XXXII, 210 pp.

Biographical notes

Antonina Lukenchuk (Volume editor)

Antonina Lukenchuk (Ph.D., Chernivtsi University, Ukraine; Ed.D., Northern Illinois University) is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Inquiry at National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. Her recent publications include chapters in edited volumes, articles in various journals, and a book, Paradigms of Research for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Examples from Practice.


Title: Outliving Your Dissertation